Saturday, May 28, 2011
Beginning after the Civil War Coney Island became a major resort destination as transportation to the beach was built and Manhattanites looked for a vacation spot within a few hours of the City. Luxurious hotels where built on the sandy beaches and millions of visitors packed Coney Island every summer. Hotels such as the Manhattan Beach, the Oriental, and the Brighton Beach featured lavish ballrooms, hundreds of guest rooms, and were the epitome of luxury.
With the building of the railroads that would eventually become today's subway lines millions thronged to Coney Island. As vacationing New Yorkers flocked to the beach the upscale resort quality of Coney Island transformed to one of amusements, sideshows, and entertainment for the masses. Coney Island in many ways was the birthplace of the American tradition of Amusement parks, thrill rides, and circus entertainment. Coney Island was a playland for New Yorker's of all ages. On a hot summer day the beaches would be packed so that you could barely see the sand. Like a glittering jewel the amusement parks would light up with thousands of twinkling little lights every night.
Since its glory days in the early 20th century Coney Island has fallen on hard times. The classic beauty of the architecture, the glamour, and the spectacle have declined. All of the original resort hotels have fallen victim to time and redevelopment. The amusements, theaters, and shows that were once a jewels on the ocean have also fallen victim to the wrecking ball. The Cyclone rollercoaster and Wonderwheel are all that remain of this time. They are reminders of the faded glory and of the glamour and opulence that once defined this far-flung Brooklyn community.